For the last two years, we have been putting out a list of topics that we believe will dominate the agenda of decision-makers in the coming year, with the aim of giving marketers a head-start on developing ideas for content to match. While the result is by no means exhaustive, we have been told it is a useful resource to consult as companies prep their content calendars for the new year.
So without further ado here’s our take on major issues that we believe will drive the conversation in 2022 - any rebuttals or additions are welcome.
Understanding the knock-on effects of COVID-19: We’re sure everyone is tired of talking about the pandemic itself, but there is still a high degree of interest in how COVID-19 will serve as a catalyst for a host of other trends that will play out in the months to come. The coronavirus continues to influence our lives in more ways than one.
For instance, as we become ever more reliant on technology, adoption of conveniences such as mobile wallets (estimated to be a USD3.5 trillion industry by 2023) and tap-and-go payments (globally, nearly eight in 10 transactions are estimated to be contactless) are picking up pace, especially in Asia. Concurrently, we are seeing a boom in hyperscale data centres that help power these possibilities - but with environmental consequences sustainability-minded businesses may need to reckon with.
Content addressing these successive shifts and their impact on local industries and the global economy alike will be a key priority as we enter the third year of the pandemic.
Acknowledging the cons of hybrid working: In order to accommodate health policies and the changing preferences of their employees, companies around the world are turning to a hybrid, or blended, working model, which provides workers the flexibility of coming into the office a few days and working from home or a location of their choice on others.
However, there is a growing body of research pointing to the downsides of such an approach. Among other issues, it highlights rising fatigue with the virtual environment as well as the potential of early burnout as employees put in long hours online to compensate for the lack of face time with their managers, while also dealing with the challenges of juggling household demands.
Thought leadership analysing the merits and downsides of the hybrid model or a full-scale return to the office – as some companies are planning – and how workplaces of the future will evolve to create a healthy work environment for employees regardless of location will be invaluable to corporate clients and their various stakeholders.
Digging into the details of sustainable development: Especially after the media frenzy surrounding the recent COP26 summit, finding something new and interesting to say about ESG and sustainability issues is getting harder.
But given the high stakes involved – the World Economic Forum estimates that the transition to a future with net-zero carbon emissions will require financing of as much as USD5 trillion every year until 2030 – there is no question about the demand for fresh insights on the subject.
For one, there will be a high degree of curiosity over what the watered down language from COP26 around reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will mean for the growth of green technologies. The summit also provided guidance on rules governing the complicated world of carbon offset trading, whose impact will require deciphering. Another outcome of the summit was the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB), which is expected to provide a framework to enhance the consistency of ESG reporting standards. Tracking the ISSB’s record in enabling companies to ramp up ESG reporting – currently an area rife with competing (or non-existent) benchmarks and inconsistencies – will be of keen interest to both businesses and their investors, who are also struggling to find the right sustainability metrics.
Tracking efforts to build supply chain resilience: While early 2020 saw consumers fretting about shortages in daily consumables, the months-long lockdowns induced by the pandemic coupled with a boom in online shopping has stretched global supply chains to the limit.
In response, companies are looking to cope by building redundancies into their value chains, including by sourcing from more than one supplier, turning to technology for greater automation of their processes, rethinking inventory management systems and near-shoring production of critical components to reduce their reliance on global supply networks over which they have little control.
As the cost of shipping goods from the production hubs of Asia to consumers around the world has ballooned, and some buyers face the prospect of a gift-free holiday season, any intelligence on how to make global supply chains resilient to future crises will grab the attention of the C-suite for months to come.
Overall, much as we wish it were otherwise the theme of 2022 seems to be uncertainty, and organisations that provide practical advice on navigating it will do the most to connect with audiences in the year ahead.
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